Tuesday, June 28, 2011

If only it were true

For a couple of years, I saved a particular article located while researching Jay Berwanger (pictured) for my biography. It came from the College Football Historical Society newsletter of May 2002.

I planned to use an anecdote in the article when I finally wrote about Berwanger's career as a college football referee in the late 1940s to mid-1950s.

Here is what I typed into my manuscript:

Berwanger was working the Minnesota-Purdue game in 1948 when he encountered a never-seen-that-before situation. After a Minnesota touchdown late in the first half, the Gophers lined up for the ensuing kickoff. Billy Bye was the holder and Gordy Soltau the kicker. Game film shows Soltau running up and extending through a full kick. The Gophers raced down to make a tackle and the Boilermakers prepared to block. After a moment or two, nearly all the players were glancing about in apparent confusion. Where was the ball? It was soon located under a prostrate Bye. Soltau never kicked the ball. Bye pulled it away, a la Lucy and Charlie Brown. That was a new one on Berwanger, who conferred with the rest of his officiating crew before calling a penalty on Minnesota for delay of game.

It's a fun little story. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems.

I decided to look up newspaper accounts of the game to see how sportswriters described the odd play. The Chicago Tribune and Associated Press accounts didn't mention it at all.

Further, looking in the fine print, I don't see Berwanger listed as a member of the officiating crew. (Coincidentally, the referee in Minneapolis was someone else with Dubuque ties -- William Blake, a graduate of Loras College.)

If Berwanger wasn't on that crew, did he work another game? In scanning the boxscores of major college games, I finally located him. Berwanger was not in Minneapolis that afternoon but in Madison, serving as referee of Northwestern at Wisconsin.

So, with some reluctance -- it's a fun little anecdote -- the false-start kickoff won't be in my Berwanger biography.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Elsie's first birthday



Our youngest (for now!) grandchild, Elsie Rose, marked her first birthday last week, and the family gathered on Saturday for her first birthday party ever.

Pop put together a little slide show from the special day. (Don't let the apparent excessive length of the video scare you away. Despite what YouTube shows, it runs just 90 seconds before 3 minutes black screen appears.)

It was also a special occasion for me because, on Father's Day weekend, the party included all four of our children (and all three spouses) and all three of our granddaughters.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Interview Monday on Iowa Public Radio

The Telegraph Herald is converting its THonline.com to a subscription model (for local content), so Iowa Public Radio asked me to participate in its noon-hour program, "The Exchange," on Monday (June 13).

The topic: Newspapers charging for news online.

I'm told that the program starts with a conversation between host Ben Kieffer and the Iowa Newspaper Association's executive director, Chris Mudge, starting at 12:06 p.m., and I'll be brought into the discussion from about 12:15 to 12:30. Also scheduled for the program is the publisher of the Ames Tribune, Geoff Schumacher.

If you aren't near a radio, you may listen to the program online. Yes, the listen is free.



Sunday, June 05, 2011

Jigsaw champion


The other day, Claire invited me to "help" her put together a couple of jigsaw puzzles. My "help" was mostly limited to watching her in amazement as she pieced them together in no time.

Dinner invitations welcome


This is our kitchen this morning. Who knew that putting in new cabinets and countertops would wreak such destruction?

Oh well. We're told this will last only eight weeks.

In the meantime, we're open to all opportunities for meals outside the home. By the end of this, we might show up at the Grand River Center on Saturday nights, crashing wedding receptions. Anybody have a tux I may borrow?